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Hope for the Homeless - KOAM TV 7

Hope for the Homeless

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

Jocelyn Brisson is the shelter director for Watered Gardens in Joplin. Not long ago, that charity was helping her escape homelessness.

For many, overcoming homelessness is the hardest task they've ever accomplished. Each individual has their personal demons, but the three subjects who shared their stories with Fox 14 pointed to some common solutions. 

Almost four decades of drug addiction led Jocelyn to a life on the streets, and trouble with the law.

"I became a felon. I become homeless for most of my adult life. I raised my son on the streets and taught him how to be a criminal, because that's basically all I knew at the time," said Jocelyn.

Jocelyn knew she had to get sober for a better life. But before she could do that, she had to gain confidence in herself, which was one of Watered Gardens' first goals for her.

"They believed in me. They told me I could do it. In my mind, I didn't think I could. My self-esteem, my self-worth were in the toilet," said Jocelyn.

The confidence instilled in Jocelyn eventually took her back to school and into a career where she helps others in a similar situation, every single day.

Rebuilding self-confidence and tackling drug and alcohol addiction were also the two key components of success for Daniel Corral. Corral is currently enrolled in Watered Gardens' Forge Program. He's relearning, or learning for the first time, life skills that will keep a roof over his head. Corral says he's had help in the past, but never been offered a way towards a permanent solution.

"You can help somebody out, and at the same time show them accountability. It's not just given to you," said Daniel.          

Watered Gardens' help came with the requirement of sobriety, which pushed Corral to tackle one of his biggest problems, head on.

"(There was) a sobriety test walking in, so that kept me from drinking if I wanted to keep my bed. And I wanted to keep my bed instead of being outside in the cold," said Daniel.

Corral says he is sober and confident. He says bringing God into his life gave him the strength to succeed in the Forge Program.

"We have a chapel there, that they have on Fridays and Sundays. And that spiritual awakening just hit me. I gave my life to the Lord now, and I'm a follower of Jesus Christ," said Daniel.

James Caywood will soon be graduating from the Forge Program. Thanks to the help he's received, and his inner strength, he's gone from homeless to employed by Mercy Hospital, and living on his own. But that wasn't always the case.

"I used alcohol to get rid of a lot of the pain. I thought it was the way to ease the hurt, ease the pain," said Caywood.

Caywood's journey began before the Forge Program.

"I would come to town and watch people go by, and see the joy and the peace and think, 'you know, i need some of that,'" said Caywood.

Just like Joselyn and Daniel, Caywood also had to overcome his substance abuse, and rebuild his confidence. While homeless, Caywood lived in an abandoned trailer in the woods. Human interaction was rare until he started to make a change.

"I was disconnected from love. I lost that feeling and realization of love," said Caywood.

Caywood realized his lone wolf mentality was holding him back. Interacting with the Watered Gardens staff, and enrolling in the Forge Program helped his confidence and self worth skyrocket.  Combined with a sober lifestyle, he's living a better life.

"It's great to be able to go to work. I ride my bike everyday to work. I paid my electric bill today. The other day I paid rent. I've got food in the fridge, and I'm encouraged to go to work tomorrow, even if its raining," said Daniel.

The homeless population is composed of individuals, all of whom have individual problems and individual needs.

"It's not a complicated problem. It's a complex individual, and the only way we're really going to help solve problems, is when we get involved one on one with people," said Watered Gardens co-founder James Whitford.

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